Introducing Western Sociologists

Introducing Western Sociologists


Discuss Emile Durkheim’s classification of the types of suicide.

Emile Durkheim’s classification of types of suicide : Emile Durkheim identified four types of suicide :

I. Egoistic Suicide : It is characterised by excessive self-reflection on personal matters and withdrawal from the outside world.

Egoism takes place, according to Emile Durkheim, because the tie binding the individual to others is slackened. In this a person gives too much significance to her or his own self or ego, and is not properly integrated in society.

The rate of egoistic suicide increases as a result of the weakening of the bonds of solidarity of the family, religion and political organisations.

II. Altruistic Suicide : It takes place when the individual is over-integrated with society.

In such a condition suicides occur for the cause of society. These are in the nature of sacrifice for the society or a type of altruism or self-denial.

Sati and Jauhar or the suicide of followers on the death of their chiefs are the examples of altruistic suicide.

In this way, we can say that excessive individualism marks egoistic suicide and underdeveloped egoism or excessive agression is the feature of altruistic suicide.

III. Anomic Suicide : Generally this type of suicide is found in societies, which experience sudden changes.

Anomic or normlessness may be defined as the state, which results from the weakening of the powers in society that regulate social equilibrium. It is society’s job to set outside limits on social wants and desires of individuals. When these limits are absent or fall to be set, individuls feel unlimited want, Also their power of bearing with frustration declines. As a result, whenever the individuals meets frustration, he cannot with stand it. He puts an end to his life.

Example : For instance, situations such as sudden setback in business or gain in wealth or political upheavals in quick succession leads to a state of normlessness or anomie in societies. Thus, the rate of anomic suicide increases.

IV. Fatalistic Suicide : It takes place because of an exessive degree of regulation and an overly developed regime.

Example : As an example of fatalistic suicide, Emile Derkheim cited the suicide of enslavement under the master, take their own lives.

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